The Art of Being Eva

The Art

As for the paintings, sketches, and portraits adorning the walls, many of them come from the Chow’s personal collection. Again, in an effort to complement the long floor plan, Eva says that they decided to hang pieces that initially might seem quite small. “Because the space is very grand and large, we thought that we could add a special visual element by putting in small and very uniform paintings of different faces, you know, the contrast of the very big versus the small.” Sir Peter Blake was the artist of choice that Eva selected when implementing this design strategy. “We happen to be very big fans and also very good friends of Peter, so we are thrilled to show his work.” Another collectible on display is the first-draft sketch of what eventually became a color portrait of Michael, by David Hockney. “I loved the idea of displaying the sketch rather than the finished portrait,” she says. “It’s like getting a sneak peek behind the scenes at a fashion show or Broadway play.” Keeping company with Blake and Hockney are emerging Mexican artist Denise De La Rue along with a video art animation piece by Yi Zhou that is projected onto a large fabric curtain on the outdoor terrace. “I chose that project because it is so different. It adds a unique element and makes it very whimsical and dream-like. So when you walk outside and see the visual against the drape, there’s a movement that I find quite interesting and romantic.”

The Artists

Eva’s access to such an expansive catalog of art and artists developed naturally over the years. She easily forged her own path and made a name for herself in the cutthroat world of high fashion. She quickly became a member of New York’s eclectic inner circle of trendsetters and formed friendships with the likes of Julian Schnabel, Ed Rusha, Aaron Young, and many iconic fashion designers. “I didn’t go out and intentionally try to befriend specific artists,” she explains, “but I think when one feels understood or appreciated, it draws you together. Perhaps that is the foundation of my and my husband’s relationship with creative people, whether that is in fashion, art, or music. Common interests usually draw similar people together. So, yes, I do have some artist friends and I appreciate them dearly; my husband and I have very soft spots for artists.”

Basel Trends to Watch

The Chows are certainly bona fide members of that small circle of collectors that is reserved for the globe’s most powerful tastemakers, but that does not translate to an elitist worldview when it comes to art appreciation. “I think art is really for everybody,” says Eva, when asked about the importance of Art Basel and the trends we might see for the 2009 extravaganza. “And because of the information age that we live in today, and the incredible technology that allows for instant, real-time communication, the public is so much more in tune and more educated with the happenings of the art scene, and I think that is very exciting. Art should be for all of the public, with everyone having access to the museums, the gallery openings, the exhibitions.” So while she might not be willing to dole out her predictions on aesthetic trends and artists to watch, she openly and willingly touts the successes of Art Basel Miami Beach in advancing the trend of “art is for everyone.” As she explains, an event like Art Basel possesses an intensive transformative power and transcends prejudices in our psyche that may lay hidden well below the surface.

But it is not just the deeper universal aspects of ABMB that has Eva so enamored. As a detail-oriented perfectionist who has hosted her own fair share of art events (she sits on the board of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art), she has a deep respect for and understanding of the effort and preparation that goes on behind the scenes in order to pull off such a grand scale, internationally recognized affair. “Any organization that can pull together this many artist, galleries, and attendees for one whole week is to be commended. And why not in Miami? It is such an optimistic city and physically a very beautiful place. I find it very appropriate for Basel to have a Miami event. You know, I cannot say enough about it and the energy it brings in, and I think the leaders who organize Art Basel Miami do an amazing job. So many eminent artists, galleries, and people participate and I think it is one of the most important art events of its kind.”

The Big Surprise

During our interview, official plans and approved press releases had yet to be revealed for Eva’s Art Basel projects, but, bursting with excitement, she did let on about a special commission that was in the midst of installation. “We do have a special surprise planned for Art Basel. We commissioned Aaron Young to paint for our indoor private room with two wrap-around walls.” Unwilling to divulge anything more, the world will have to wait with bated breath to witness what is sure to be one of the highlights of Miami’s most magical week.